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In honor of actor Andy Garcia and his (unintentionally) hilarious reaction to Sofia (Mary Corleone) Coppola's death scene in "The Godfather, Part III."
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Yankees vs. Senators, 1949-as done in my imagination

Posted 04-12-2009 at 11:34 AM by TommyJohn
Updated 04-12-2009 at 06:50 PM by TommyJohn

I played baseball with a bat, helmet, glove, invisible ball and invisible teammates of the Cubs, Sox and Yankees. Oh, sure I did try to play baseball with some kids from the neighborhood when I was about 9 years old or so. I discovered my first time playing that, if there was one thing the neighborhood kids enjoyed more than playing baseball, it was shouting every single four-letter, foul-mouthed epithet in their parents' worldly vocabularies. At one point, I made a mistake and a kid my age called me a "mother****er." This upset and scared me, for some reason. Maybe because my father was a big man who swore, I don't know. Anyway, I ran home. My dad came out and chewed the kid out. "Go swear at your parents, not my son!" He yelled at him. So that ended my attempts to hang out with kids in the 'hood.

I remember well one situation I imagined as a kid-it was with the New York Yankees version of me. Here was the situation:

At the end of the 1949 season, the Yankees and Washington Senators ended the regular season in a tie. The playoff to determine the AL champ was played in Washington. The Senators took a 4-1 lead in the top of the 9th. I think you know what will happen next. Well, first, the Washington p.a. announcer made the announcement that tickets for Game 1 of the World Series would go on sale immediately after the game. This prompted a standing ovation from the hometown crowd.

The Yankees put men on base, but the Senators got two outs. The next batter walked to load the bases to bring my character up. He works the count to 3 and 2 with the crowd roaring before he took the 3-2 pitch deep....back....back...for a grand slam. What, you figured he flied out to make the Senators the AL champs? So I would do my home run trot and get mobbed at home plate. The Senators meekly submitted in the bottom of the 9th and the Yanks were again the AL champs.

I always hear ballplayers who hit game-breaking or -winning home runs say "you dream about it as a kid, but you never imagine that you'd really do it." I recall Dave Henderson, Lenny Dykstra and Joe Carter saying words to that effect. I guess I have that in common with them, if nothing else. I never played baseball on any level, unfortunately. Yet whenever I see a player hit a dramatic home run and talk about "dreaming" of doing it as a kid, my mind goes back, and once again I am a nine year old kid swinging my bat and erupting in cheers as I hit the home run that propels my team to the World Series.
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